What does Windows 7 End of Life mean for me?
Can I still use my Windows 7 computer?
Yes. The software on your Windows 7 PC is not going to simply stop working. However, Microsoft have now discontinued support for Windows 7. It is also worth noting that Microsoft customer service will no longer provide technical support for Windows 7.
This means that from 14th January 2020 onward, if your computer is running Windows 7 it will no longer receive security updates.
It is extremely important that you upgrade your system to an up to date operating system such as Windows 10. If you have a rather old PC, it could be more cost effective in the long term for you to completely upgrade your hardware through buying a new PC. New PCs will come with Windows 10 and are built to run the latest Operating System as standard.
Your old PC will struggle to perform to its full potential once you update the operating system. However, if you would still like to go ahead and update your OS to windows 10, you can do so here: Windows 10
According to estimates from ZDNet, around 20% of Windows PCs worldwide are still running older versions of Windows, predominantly Windows 7. This figure equates to a huge 200 million PCs that are still running out of date operating systems that are susceptible to attack.
What does this mean for Businesses?
In some cases, this change can cause serious problems for businesses. Some of the software that companies use may have been created specifically for Windows 7 and therefore is not compatible with Windows 10 yet. This can mean that companies will have to pay the software developers to update the software for them, something that can prove to be extremely costly.
Alternatively, companies can still purchase Extended Security Updates (ESU) from Microsoft. This would mean businesses can continue to receive updates for Window 7 Professional or Enterprise up until 2023.
ESU does come at a cost, ranging from $25 all the way up to $200 per device. For companies with many computers, this cost can be quite significant. If you decide to purchase these Windows 7 ESUs, you can use a free patch manager to support the deployment of these updates.
What are the risks?
Hackers will look to exploit anyone still using Windows 7.
You may remember the malware attack that effected computers worldwide in May 2017. The NHS was hit on a very large scale by the WannaCry ransomware attack. In 2018, a government report later indicated that the attack itself could have been avoided if the computers used by the NHS Trusts had been updated and the required security patches had been applied.
According to The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the attack cost the NHS £20million during the outbreak and a further £72million in the aftermath.
If the computers had been kept up to date, the cyber-attack could have easily been avoided.
How can I reduce the risks?
If you are in a situation where you can’t replace your out of date technology straight away, there are some steps you can take to help increase your safety online. Always make sure that your browser remains up to date. Only visit big name-brand websites such as Banks; these websites will be safer however even these websites will eventually stop you from having access/logging in if you’re on Windows 7 due to the severity of the potential risks.
These tips basically boil down to an almost impossible task in today’s world, try to avoid encountering malware at all costs. According to Cybint, an attack happens every 39 seconds in the US alone.
Worldwide cyber security damages were $3 trillion in 2015. That figure is predicted to increase to a massive $6 trillion annually by the year 2021 as cyber crime grows exponentially.